Saturday, April 23, 2016

Happiness


Are you happy? If so, what makes you happy? If not, do you know what it would take to make you happy? Is it relationships? Fame? Money? A good laugh? Let's pretend for a minute that you're 100% happy as-is right now. What could you lose and still be happy?

There are multiple versions of a post bouncing around social media that touch on this idea. They typically show a picture of a cabin in the woods and ask if you'd be willing to live in it without internet for an extended amount of time. There's usually even some monetary reward attached to accomplishing this "challenge."

Every time I see it, my first thought is - Who wouldn't do it? Most of the people I know would do it without the monetary reward. I personally would love to live in a little cabin in the woods. I am curious how long I'd want to go without any contact from the outside world though because I know that's one of the things that makes me happy.

I've been reading a few minimalist blogs lately and they tie in nicely to this concept. I've never considered myself a minimalist, but I am far from being a pack rat. I don't seem to have any real emotional attachment to many of my personal possessions so it wouldn't phase me much to do without most of them.

I read a description of minimalism on theminimalists.com that got me wondering if I was more minimalist than I realized. Here's how they describe minimalism:
"Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life's excess in favor of focusing on what's important - so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom."
That fits nicely with how I look at most of the "stuff" in my life. I could toss 90% of it tomorrow and still be happy. That's because I know it's my family, friends and laughing at life that makes me happy. If it were money, fame or success that made me happy, I would probably be suffering from severe depression right now.

This brings me back to giving up technology and living in a little cabin in the woods cut off from society. I'm not a fan of large groups of people. I would love to live in that little cabin in the woods. The biggest problem I see is that my wife and daughters wouldn't be as keen on the idea and if they're not happy - neither am I.

As far as tech, I would love to go back to the days where we had to check our answering machine when we got home. Or even better, actually have to be at home to receive the phone call. The problem with this is that it only really works if everyone else is following suit.

I don't know if any of my friends or family members would care if I didn't have a cell phone. The issue I would see is with social media. So many people are used to social media being their main source of information that you're completely in the dark without it. I learned this during my two month hiatus away from Facebook recently. With the exception of a very small handful of friends and family members that I talk to on a near daily basis, I was completely in the dark.

Everyone assumes you know what's going on with them because they posted it on a half dozen social media accounts. The sad part is there are probably only a half dozen people that even noticed when I dropped off social media.

Technology has its pros and cons, but in the end, I'd have to say technology wins out based on the extent to which it's permeated our daily lives. Sure it's nice to have unlimited information at the tips of your fingers at all times, but without technology you might as well be stuck on a deserted island somewhere because you probably won't be hearing from anyone any time soon.

To wrap this up, I have apparently not given enough thought to the "will you live in this cabin without tech...." question. I would now lean more towards no knowing that my family wouldn't want to be there with me and I would pretty much be cut off from my other family members and friends.

Happiness to me is my family and friends. Tech - no tech. Cabin - no cabin. It makes no difference. The real issue is whether or not it will cut me off from my family and friends because that's what makes me happy. Until next time....